Wolbach Library: Policies

Business Hours:

    Monday - Friday 9:00-5:00 ; Closed Saturdays, Sundays and holidays

Building Access:

  • Harvard ID holders and members of the general public may access the Library during our normal business hours after signing in at the Circulation Desk.
  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) and Harvard College Observatory (HCO) Employees and Official Visitors, Harvard Astronomy Department Graduate Students and other Center for Astrophysics (CfA) affiliates who have a current entry in the CfA Staff Database have 24-hour access to the Library.
  • Library staff make every effort possible to accommodate visitors with disabilities. Please contact us in advance to make arrangements (email library@cfa.harvard.edu, or call 617-496-5769).

Collection Development Policy

    Find the Wolbach Library's Collection Development Policy here.

Licensed Electronic Resources:

    Licensed electronic resources are restricted to members of the Harvard community and to on-site users of Harvard's libraries for purposes of research, teaching, and private study. Under Harvard's licenses for electronic resources, users generally may not:
  • permit anyone other than authorized users to use the licensed materials

  • modify or create a derivative work of the licensed materials without the permission of the licensor

  • remove, obscure or modify any copyright or other notices included in the licensed materials

  • use the licensed materials for commercial purposes, including but not limited to the sale of the licensed materials

  • Users are individually responsible for compliance with these terms.


  • Individuals with valid Harvard or SAO ID may borrow materials from the Library's circulating collections (terms vary, see below for more information). All others may request loans of Library materials through the interlibrary loan department of their institution or public library.
  • The following materials do not circulate and may not be removed from the Library: unbound journals, rare or brittle materials, reference works, microfiche and microfilm. Photocopiers and microform reader/printers are available in the Library.
  • Generally, all other materials may be borrowed.
  • Loan periods for books:
    • Harvard Faculty, Officers, Staff and Graduate Students, SAO and HCO Employees and Official Visitors with appointments of twelve months or more: one term (books are due on February 10 and September 10, or first occurring business day thereafter).
    • SAO Employees and Official Visitors with one to twelve month appointments, Harvard Undergraduate and Summer School Students, Extension School Degree Candidates and Harvard University Libraries Special Borrowers: 28 days.
    • SAO Employees and Official Visitors here for less than one month: no borrowing privileges.
  • Shorter loan periods apply to bound journals and to materials from some special collections including digital formats, slides, videos and course reserve.


  • All materials are subject to recall at any time. If another patron requests the recall of a borrowed item, the current borrower will be notified, and must return the recalled item within seven days.
  • Once a book has been recalled, the date stamped in the book or printed on a renewal confirmation notice is no longer valid.
  • Any patron may place a recall request, and any material that is checked out by any patron can be recalled. Material that is currently on loan to another borrower may be requested directly through the HOLLIS Catalog at http://holliscatalog.harvard.edu using a Harvard or SAO ID and PIN. From the "Full view" display of a record in the HOLLIS Catalog, click "Availability" then "request." Recall requests may also be placed in person at the main desk in the Library.
  • We suggest that borrowers return materials to the Library before any extended absence.


  • Borrowers may renew Library materials directly through the HOLLIS Catalog at http://holliscatalog.harvard.edu. Click on "Your Account" and enter your Harvard or SAO ID and PIN to log in. A PIN may be obtained at: http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/library/pin.html
  • Library materials may also be renewed over the phone at 617-496-5769, or in person at the Library during business hours.
  • There is a limit of five remote renewals (online, phone) after which materials must be renewed in person.


  • Library materials may be returned at the Circulation Desk during business hours.
  • After-hours, Library materials may be returned using the book drop outside the front entrance to the Perkin building lobby at 60 Garden Street.
  • Library materials may also be returned at most other Harvard Libraries (the borrower must check the policies of each Library; some Libraries may not accept returns for other Harvard Libraries).
  • Library materials may be returned by mail to: John G. Wolbach Library, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St. MS-56, Cambridge, MA 02138.


Harvard Undergraduate and Summer School Students, Extension School Degree Candidates and Harvard University Libraries Special Borrowers:

  • Overdue fines are $0.50 per day, per item once items have been overdue for three (3) days.

All Borrowers:

  • Overdue fines for recalled items are $2.00 per day, per item.
  • Library materials overdue for fifty-six (56) days are considered "lost." Lost Library materials are subject to a $125.00 per item replacement fee. Until lost Library materials are returned, paid for or replaced, Library patrons may face suspension of Library privileges.


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